6 Methods For Getting Kids to Cooperate

Courtesy of lifehacker.com.au:

Invite, Don’t Demand

We all want our children to “ask nicely”, but the truth is that’s easier said than done. My question is, where do you think they learned to be demanding and inflexible? Oh yeah, from us! If we want our kids to cooperate, then we’ve got to be the bigger, more mature ones and lead by example. Contrary to popular belief, asking nicely, inviting, and working together to find a solution to a problem doesn’t teach children to be more defiant or disobedient, instead, by doing these things you’re laying a foundation of trust and teamwork that your kids will soon learn to rely on.

Use this quick test to figure out whether your request is actually a demand. Ask yourself, “Would it be OK if they answered ‘no’ to this request?” If not, then you’re not actually inviting or asking, you’re demanding or requiring a specific behaviour. That’s OK some of the time, especially if safety is an issue, but remember, the more demands you make on your kids, the less true, internally motivated cooperation you’re likely to get.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t have expectations of your children. It’s just that when those expectations aren’t met, it’s helpful to see that as an opportunity to problem solve together, rather than an excuse to punish them into submission.

Turn it Into a Game

Kids love to play. When you can make something fun, they’re far more likely to get on board. This does require some creativity and spontaneity on your part. When your child refuses to leave the park, can you find a way to make getting to the car more fun? Maybe you’ll pretend you’re firefighters and you have to jump into the firetruck to go put out the fire. Or perhaps you’ll race, or hop like a bunny, or offer a ride on your shoulders. Making things more fun isn’t just a great way to gain your child’s cooperation, it’s also a way to enjoy your time with them more. I mean, which would you prefer, a power struggle where you force your child kicking and screaming into his care seat or a fun game in which he climbs in willingly?

If you’re not sure what kind of a game will work best, tune in to your child’s interests. If she loves princesses, then you’ll be her knight in shining armour or her trusty steed. If he’s into trucks, you can ask if he wants to be fork-lifted into the car. Or maybe you’ve just read a story about a friendly fish, so try acting it out! If you just can’t seem to come up with an idea, ask your child what to play. Most kids are more than ready with a suggestion for a fun game or activity that you can alter slightly to fit your agenda.

Stop Repeating Yourself

This is a mistake we all make, especially when we’re not getting the results we want. Trust me that repeating yourself is the last thing you want to do if you’re trying to foster cooperation. Your child heard you the first time, and by repeating yourself, you’re simply training her to stop listening and wait for you to get frustrated before she acts.

Children are discovering all sorts of things about the world around them, including vast amounts of information about social/emotional dynamics. When they throw you off your game or induce you to get frustrated or upset, they’re gathering very interesting data about how to get what they want and what might cause you to reconsider your position. Don’t fall prey to their cunning.

When you can keep your cool and maintain clear boundaries, your kids will still test you, but after they’ve tested all their theories about how to get around your rule with no success, they will find other areas far more interesting and emotionally rich.

Be Forgetful

But what about when you’ve asked once and they’re not responding? Instead of asking again, take a different tack. Be forgetful and invite them to remind you what you said a moment ago. “Wait, I forget, didn’t I just ask you to do something? What was that? I think we were getting ready to go somewhere, but can you please remind me where?”

This allows the kids to be the smarter ones and if there’s one thing children love, it’s being smarter and more capable than adults.

Let Them Be In Charge

That’s why you’ll get a lot more cooperation when you allow them to be in charge. No need to constantly corral them, just put one child in charge of getting everyone ready and out the door and you’ll be surprised how quickly it will happen. This works especially well with my daughter when I underestimate her abilities and she gets to prove how smart and capable she is. “You don’t know how to do that all by yourself, do you?” And then when she has her shoes on and is climbing into her car seat, “Wow, you knew exactly what to do to get ready to go and you did know how to do it!”

Cooperate With Them

There are times when even the most cooperative child just needs some extra help. This could be because they’re tired, sick, hungry, or just feeling sad and disconnected. So if nothing else seems to work, offer to help. During times like this, we like to play a game in which my daughter pretends to be a baby and I have to do everything for her. After just a few moments of this game, she is far more willing to do what I’ve asked or help me with something. That’s because she knows that when she really needs some extra support, I’m there to willingly and happily provide her with the support she needs.

Click on the link to read 10 Important Steps to Stop Yelling at Kids

Click on the link to read Classroom Management is Getting Harder

Click on the link to read The Dog Eat Dog Style of Education

Click on the link to read Problem Kids, Suspensions and Revolving Doors

Click on the link to read Useful Resources to Assist in Behavioural Management

Click on the link to read When Something Doesn’t Work – Try Again Until it Does


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One Response to “6 Methods For Getting Kids to Cooperate”

  1. educationconcerns Says:

    Stitched up – the teacher who refused to dumb down

    Beatriz Melero has not yet been prosecuted for fraud and perjury, so it is time to point out some facts that Beatriz Melero must explain.

    First there is some doubt over Beatriz Melero’s qualified teacher status: Beatriz Melero can’t “recall” when she qualified, and the Department for Education can’t confirm that she ever did. So how did Beatriz Melero get into the teaching profession with such vague credentials and dodgy CV?

    When Beatriz Melero required me to dumb down my high teaching standards to her primitive levels of understanding, I didn’t feel inclined to do so: but Beatriz Melero likes to get her own way and isn’t best pleased when someone stands up to her. So Beatriz Melero sneered at the advanced work that I was teaching, snubbed the fantastic achievements of my primary pupils (as demonstrated both live in the classroom and on videos), and set about smearing my professional reputation.

    To do this, Beatriz Melero quietly tampered with documents and presented her amended versions as evidence instead of the originals – that’s fraud – and then signed a written statement confirming that all her evidence was “true” when it patently wasn’t – that’s perjury. For example, Beatriz Melero stated in her written evidence that, “on various dates during 2008 you referred to pupils in a derogatory manner…”. Really? Which “dates” precisely? Which “pupils” exactly? No one knows – least of all Beatriz Melero.

    So when Beatriz Melero writes here, “There is simply no excuse for denigrating your students”, she is reiterating her original lie. Can Beatriz Melero identify when I am supposed to have ‘denigrated my students’? Of course not: what Beatriz Melero has done is quietly amend a simple observation that I made in a private memo to her and deliberately misquoted it to make it mean what she wanted it to mean. (Writing a memo after any meeting with Beatriz Melero was always a necessary precaution, as she couldn’t be trusted to keep a reliable account herself – and always refused to provide copies of her notes anyway).

    In this memo I referred in passing to disruptive nuisances as “pests”, a very apt and appropriate epithet for anyone in general who is fool enough to jeopardise the learning opportunities of everyone in the class. That’s not “denigrating your students”: that’s identifying any nuisance who deliberately interferes with the learning opportunities of all the other decent hard-working pupils in the class. To disagree with this accurate description of a disruptive miscreant is to accept that anyone who deliberately and wilfully jeopardises the education of others is not a fool to do so.

    As the Press article correctly records, I also pointed out in this memo that, “If they [referring to “Persistent miscreants” in the previous sentence] don’t like being called an idiot or a pest (or a fool, or a clown, or a buffoon, or any other similar epithet), there is a very simple remedy: don’t act like one”. Who can argue against such a straightforward sentiment? This is the subjunctive form using the conditional conjunction “If”: Beatriz Melero has doctored this sentence by omitting the conjunction “If” to make this simple conditional clause into a false statement of fact. So the Press article that Beatriz Melero is keen to quote from, stating “A primary school teacher branded his pupils ‘pests, idiots, clowns and buffoons’”, is complete fabrication. Notice how in the next sentence, “…insisted that he had used ‘apt and appropriate language’ to describe the eight and nine-year-old pupils” is a malicious distortion of what I actually observed as possible suggestions of what “a very apt and appropriate epithet for anyone in general” might be for anyone who chooses to be a disruptive nuisance.

    Beatriz Melero prefers to protect troublesome miscreants rather than support the rest of the class – and her staff. She offers pearls of wisdom: “If teachers can’t handle the constant disturbances and the rudeness, they have options”. This is one of Beatriz Melero’s snide comments surreptitiously slipped in with the crafty intention to denigrate and to smear by innuendo. So “constant disturbances and…rudeness” were a feature of my classes were they? If this were remotely true, Beatriz Melero must explain how my pupils managed to achieve their excellent results happily captured on videos. Having planted the sly innuendo, Beatriz Melero then suggests that teachers experiencing difficulties should “Seek the support of their Principal…”.

    The problem here was Beatriz Melero’s distinct lack of any “support”. When I put three miscreants in detention for seriously disrupting a Test, Beatriz Melero cancelled their detentions for being “unduly punitive”: apparently what she calls “fidgeting” in a Test doesn’t matter. Beatriz Melero plainly isn’t aware that Test conditions require total silence from everyone at all times – ask any invigilator – and the obstreperous behaviour of these miscreants was much more than just mild “fidgeting”. In any event, small misdemeanours ignored now, become large misdemeanours later – a simple fact that any experienced teacher knows. Beatriz Melero’s unwarranted and unprofessional action in foolishly cancelling deserved detentions without bothering to consult me first, seriously undermined my authority in the classroom. Not much “support” there then.

    Beatriz Melero’s other “options” include, “Change their style of teaching”. Perhaps Beatriz Melero can advise on how to change Test conditions – and more to the point, is she aware that a Test doesn’t actually involve teaching?

    As Beatriz Melero admitted she didn’t understand my Scheme of Work and therefore had no idea of my “style of teaching”, she was in no position to ‘assess’ it or offer advice about changing it. So Beatriz Melero must explain her statement that, “Ofsted would raise concerns regarding the National Curriculum requirements for the teaching and learning of music”. You would think that when the opportunity came to put her ‘assessment’ to the test – an Ofsted inspection – she would jump at the chance to prove her point: but instead Beatriz Melero cancelled my scheduled lessons for the duration of that inspection. Why? There is a very simple explanation: the inspectors would see what my pupils were actually achieving, and the last thing Beatriz Melero wanted was for her lie about “concerns” to be exposed.

    Beatriz Melero’s easy facility for lying and tampering with documentary evidence means that all her evidence is totally unreliable and must be regarded with extreme caution.

    Melinka Berridge’s claim in the Press article is false as well: “Melinka Berridge said he had penned a letter to the school after complaints were made about his language towards children”. The “letter to the school” was in fact my private memo to Beatriz Melero, “penned” only to record a meeting with Beatriz Melero that she couldn’t be trusted to record accurately herself – not as a result of any “complaints” being made as the article would like everyone to believe. Beatriz Melero has carelessly neglected to mention here that Melinka Berridge leaked this false information to the Press before the hearing had been completed – something that jurors can be fined and/or imprisoned for doing. Melinka Berridge was the solicitor acting on behalf of the disciplinary panel (so should have known better) – and it should be asked, who was the source of the false information so freely imparted by Melinka Berridge if not Beatriz Melero.

    There is also reference to apparent “serious misconduct towards staff and pupils between December 2007 and May 2008”. Really? Beatriz Melero must explain what this “serious misconduct” was, when precisely it took place, and who exactly the “staff and pupils” were.

    Beatriz Melero also invented non-existent safeguarding and child protection issues that she can’t substantiate. Beatriz Melero has much to explain. Perhaps she could start by responding to this report.

    Roger Griffin

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